In the realm of Hollywood stars, few have ever managed to match the accomplished and prolific nature of Sam Shepard. With a filmography dating all the way back to the 1970s, the private actor was known more for his lengthy list of achievements and his consistently stellar performances than anything in his personal life. Now is the time to shine a light on his many accomplishments, as we have officially learned that Sam Shepard died last week at the age of 73.
Sam Shepard passed away at his home in Kentucky on Thursday. The actor (arguably best known for his work in Black Hawk Down and The Notebook) had spent the last few years struggling privately with ALS, and he was reportedly surrounded by family at the time of his passing per People. Shepard is survived by his two sisters and three children -- two of whom he had during his longtime relationship with American Horror Story actress Jessica Lange. In keeping with Sam Shepard's typically withdrawn sensibilities, his family has requested privacy during this time of mourning, and they have thus far opted not to make his funeral arrangements public.
Sam Shepard was one of those rare silver screen personalities that only comes around a few times in a generation. Breaking onto the scene in the late 1970s in Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven, he earned an Academy Award nomination for his portrayal of Chuck Yeager in 1983's The Right Stuff, and he had no less than 68 credits to his name (big and small screen alike) at the time of his death. Even in the later years of his career, Shepard kept himself busy -- perhaps most notably in director Jeff Nichols' southern love letters Mud and Midnight Special. Starring in any one of those movies would be impressive, so that should give you a sense of the level that Shepard was working at before his death.
Moving away from his exploits as a film actor, Sam Shepard kept busy with a number of other creative endeavors. Beyond his work on the silver screen, Shepard was also known for his stage acting, as well as his writing. In the realm of recognizable achievements, he was nominated for two Tony awards over the course of his career, in addition to an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe nomination in 1999 for his work on Dash and Lily. Moreover, Shepard earned a Pulitzer Prize for his work on his original play Buried Alive in 1979.
It is with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to this acting icon, but we must also take the time to celebrate his lengthy list of accomplishments -- both on and off of the screen. R.I.P., Mr. Shepard. Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to put on my copy of The Notebook in honor of this legendary thespian.
Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.
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